A warm sleeping bag is an absolute must for Mount Kilimanjaro, regardless of the season you plan to trek.
Freezing nights on the upper reaches of Kili (>3,000m) are guaranteed, so you will be uncomfortable and cold without a warm sleeping bag.
Below we have set out the key characteristics to look for in the best Kilimanjaro sleeping bags, as well as providing three recommendations based on price and performance.
It is possible to rent sleeping bags in Moshi or Arusha or from your tour operator. But in general, we recommend bringing your own. This way you won’t be reusing a sleeping bag where lots of smelly trekkers slept before. Of course, if you only plan to use your sleeping bag once then renting or borrowing one is easier.
If you are set on renting a sleeping bag then it is worthwhile finding one with similar characteristics as those below. To get a more hygienic sleeping environment and additional insulation, bring a sleeping bag liner (here are some good examples).
Sleeping Bags – Key Characteristics
Down vs. Synthetic
There are two types of sleeping bags – goose/duck down and synthetic. In general, down sleeping bags are of better quality, lighter and more comfortable. They are, however, more expensive than synthetic sleeping bags.
To decide between down and synthetic, check their weight and cost.
The cost calculation is really dependent on your personal budget and more importantly, the frequency of your camping and trekking.
We recommend going with a down sleeping bag if you do frequent unsupported camping and trekking adventures (2-4 a year) and want a product that is reliable and worthy of a long-term investment. If you are trekking Mount Kilimanjaro as a one-off and might only use the sleeping bag again in a few years for another trek, then it might make sense to go for a cheaper synthetic option, or indeed rent a bag.
As on any high-altitude trekking expedition, the nights on Kilimanjaro get very cold. Hence, your sleeping bag needs to be able to cope with extremely cold temperatures. We recommend sleeping bags that have a rating at a minimum of -10C (14F).
It is, however, better to have a warmer sleeping bag than a colder one – it is better to be too warm than too cold.
Shape and Design
The best hiking sleeping bag design is the mummy shape. It is crafted to fit the contours of the human body, providing better insulation than standard rectangular-shaped sleeping bags.
Most adult body types fit into a mummy-shaped sleeping bag, but if you have a uniquely short, tall or wide-body shape then look for the size of the sleeping bag to fit your body contours snuggly.
The other two design features to look out for are an insulated hood that can be pulled around your head with a drawcord, and a two-way zipping system which improves insulation and allows for unzipping at both ends of the sleeping bag.
Kilimanjaro Sleeping Bags
Hyke & Byke Snowmass
Hyke & Byke make great sleeping bags.
Their Snowmass range offers an ultra-lightweight 4-season unisex sleeping bag that is ideal for Mount Kilimanjaro. Rated to 0 Degree F (-17 Degree C), this 650 fill hydrophobic down sleeping bag will keep you warm and comfortable on Kilimanjaro.
It is available in three sizes (Long, Regular and Short), so can cater for people of different heights. There are multiple colours too.
TETON Sports LEEF
For awesome value for money (i.e. under $100), we recommend the TETON Sports LEEF.
The LEEF is a synthetic sleeping bag but is still lightweight (4.2 pounds (1.90 kg) and very warm. We recommend going for the 0F (-18C) version as the 20F (-7C) is likely, not warm enough for Kilimanjaro.
The REI Co-op Downtime sleeping bag is rated to 0F (-17C), which makes it excellent for Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Downtime as the name suggests includes a down fill (650) and offers lightweight warmth and engineering that balances room to move with excellent insulation efficiency.
This sleeping bag will keep you comfortable on the slopes of Kibo.
Other Sleeping Accessorie
Inflatable pillow (optional)
A compact backpacking inflatable pillow that can quickly be inflated and deflated for storage is useful. Equally, you could just use a pile of clothes.
Thermal mat (optional)
Your tour company should provide a thin mattress on which you can set your sleeping bag. If you are concerned about the cold and want additional cushioning we suggest bringing a thermal sleeping pad that can be stored as a small roll in your duffle bag.
As far as we’ve seen, Therm-a-Rest mats are the market leaders.
Kilimanjaro Packing List Continued
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